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Researchers at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil and Gunma University in Japan have designed an optical fiber from agar, the natural gelatin obtained from marine algae. In addition to being edible, the fiber is biodegradable and biocompatible — qualities that give the researchers the ability to use its waveguide for in vivo applications such as imaging, light delivery, and sensing.
The fiber may also play a valuable role in medical settings. A medical professional could potentially insert an endoscope or similar imaging device made from the biodegradable fiber into an organ in the body, which would then naturally absorb the device, reducing many risks associated with medical procedures.
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